Saturday, April 25, 2009

First, an update on the shambolic housing tale:

After the howler complaint email I sent on Thursday evening, we finally got contacted by two Council officials on Friday.

One said that if we signed something to say we realised that they are only paying a 3 bed rate of LHA for us if we go into a privately rented 4 bed house (the one the Council introduced us to in Keston) and that we realised we have to make up the difference (well, yeah, DUH!) then they would let us go for that via them (rather than independently) which should I think mean they'll provide the deposit (though at the 3 bed rate).

The second person said yes they'd heard that was being offered, but they made us another offer. We could go as a priority A on the housing waiting list for a FOUR BED council house IF we stayed where we are now. If we leave here, and go into that other house, we can go on the waiting list if we ask, but at the very very bottom.

Questions:

  1. They have in writing the fact that we can't stay here for an indefinate period, but could only stay if it was for a very short time and a fixed definate period - subject to any further deterioration. Seeing as poor Samuel and William HAVE already got worse due to the stress caused by the Council's delays and poor handling, that definately isn't going to happen. Why make an offer that they know we can't accept? Could it simply be to cover their backs so when we complain they can say ah we DID offer them a 4 bed?
  2. Are they saying that they will give us a 4 bed council house but only pay a 3 bed rate of housing benefit? Is that possible? Isn't it one policy used to calculate the rates?
  3. If they are saying they can pay 4 bed rate in a council house but not using their Bond Scheme, then... what?! What pot of money does the difference come from? If the rules don't allow them to use discretion on saying we can get a 4 bed rate, then how does it matter which sort of house it is in? Surely the benefit pot is the benefit pot however it is accessed?
  4. are they being deliberately difficult, or just incompetent?
At the end of the day, I want what we asked for in the first place - a 4 bed council house. Its what they said we could have. They said we'd go into temporary housing - a 3 bed 2 reception council house - and stay on the waiting list as an A priority. Because they said the temporary housing could be in a rough area - not suitable for autistic kids - that was when they said well try the private rental route.

No where did they say, until the week before our original eviction date, that they wouldn't pay out for 4 bed rate.

GRRRRR

Meantime we're packing up. We've sorted and cleared the garage, and the other day we worked on the kids toys shed, moving everything out onto the lawn (see picture), sorting it, then storing it for now in our own shed which is at the bottom of mum's garden.

This has meant she can move her garden stuff back into her shed.

Roarke has also cleared his office and turned it back into a place for her freezer and other stuff.


Jonathan enjoyed finding out what was stored in the shed, and especially got excited by all the cars which he then spent ages lining up, and pushing up and down the little slope by the steps.

This week I also managed to find, as we tidied the garage (where lots of our stuff from our own house has been stored over the past three years) the old easel that belonged to me and my brother all those years ago.

I also found a bag of chalks and Jonathan and Samuel got well into it. Samuel and I talked about different art styles and in particular we talked about impressionist things.

I showed him how to blend the chalks and this (see picture) was the result.

5 comments:

Joxy said...

Yes, they are covering their backs as they have a duty of care toward your family and if they say they offered a 4 bed and you turn it down then they are no longer responsible for your family.

Have you had advice from CAB as I'm fairly sure they are being incompetent and wrong. You should also be access the bond scheme regardless of whether you use private or council accommodation - you will probably have to pay it back for the private but at a very reduced rate.

I would try contacting the SEN officer for the council too they might be able to get more headway with the housing section for you.

Good luck
Joxy.

dawny said...

I hope it all starts to find some sort of solution for you, it's all as clear as mud to me lol i haven't been sleeping - I bet you haven't either. The Cab have been really good for us.

Anonymous said...

Great Scott, what a huge mess, Ann. I hope everything gets better for you all. Perhaps you'd like to threaten them with the Local Government Ombudsman too?

Diane
threedegreesoffreedom.blogspot.com

Shirl said...

I wish you luck with finding a new home ... :0)

Denise said...

Love the chalk drawing :)